tv Way Too Early With Willie Geist MSNBC December 29, 2011 5:30am-6:00am EST
the question is, where is this war of words headed? it's "way too early" for this. good morning. i'm willie geist and this is "way too early," the show that still believes fred thompson can come back and win iowa. i'm glad you're up with us this morning watching on msnbc or listening live on sirius xm radio. shoot me an e-mail or tweet me @williegeist1. let me know what you're doing at this hour. or do what pat robertson does and text "awake" followed by your response to 622639. we'll read the best responses later in the show. the next 30 minutes will be your cram session for this thursday, december 29th. a lot to tell you about, including another chapter in the newt/mitt/lucile ball in the chocolate factory fight. newt showed up in an actual chocolate factory yesterday. plus, holiday hay makers, as a group ofç priests and monks throw down in bethlehem.
we'll have harold letterman's round-by-round scoring later in the show. first, the news at 5:30 a.m. here at 30 rock in new york city. five days to go until the iowa caucuses and new polling shaking up the presidential republican field. in the latest cnn/time research poll, mitt romney on top with 25% support, ron paul a close second, still within the margin of error. the story, the latest republican candidate to surge, former pennsylvania senator rick santorum. he jumps all the way up to third place in iowa. he has more than tripled his support in the state since the beginning of the month. santorum has invested just about all of his resources there. this comes at the expense of newt gingrich's who's plummeted to fourth place in the poll. you see him there at 14%. the right-hand column is instructive, down 19 points just since december 7th. rick perry and michele bachmann round out the top six, 11% and 9% respectively.
important to note this only recorded republicans. while democrats can't caucus in iowa, they can change their registration right there at the door. santorum attributes his surge in the polls to his relentless efforts in iowa. with limited campaign money, senator santorum visited all 99 counties in the state. >> we've always felt like, you know, we could trust the people of iowa, that when they got down to the time when they were going to seriously look at all the candidates and measure up the people they've had the opportunity to see that we would do well. it's like any small business person, wolf. if the money's not coming in, you've just got to work harder, and that's what we're doing. we're continuing to work hard. we're going up in the morning doing radio shows at 6:00 in the morning hereç and going until, you know, 9:00, 10:00 at night and town meeting after town meeting. 357 town hall meetings i've done in the state of iowa. and you know, hard work pays off. >> by the way, rick santorum will join us live on "morning joe" this morning. stay tuned for that interview. we'll ask him what's behind the shoot in the polls and whether or not he does well in iowa he
can maintain it moving forward. in new hampshire, mitt romney continues to dominate the republican field, and this new cnn poll shows 44% support among republican primary voters for romney. that's a nine-point jump from earlier this month. like iowa, gingrich on a sharp slide in the granite state, dropping ten points since early december. and 16%, the former house speaker now in a statistical tie with ron paul for second place. jon huntsman, who's dedicated all of his campaign resources to the new hampshire primary, sitting in fourth place, polling at 9%. santorum and bachmann followed behind in single digits. newt gingrich downplaying his recent drop in the polls, insisting you don't have to win those early races to stay in the game. >> still has to get top three. >> i think so -- well, top three or four depends on whether they're all bunched, whether you have four people tied. what if you have ron paul win? at that point, i think the
people just sort of shake their head and go to the next topic. every single one. if you looked at where we first put our teams, our biggest team is in south carolina. i'd like to come in second in new hampshire. i think it's very hard to beat romney in new hampshire, although it will be fun. it will be an exciting week. >> for more on the changingç republican field so close to the caucuses, we bring in msnbc and "time" senior political analyst, also co-author of "game change," mark halperin joining us by phone from des moines, iowa. thank you seems insufficient, mark, at 4:30 a.m. in iowa. i'm sorry seems more like it. >> as you would say, willie geist, it's all right. i was just getting ready to go to sleep. no problem. >> there you go. we can live that lie together. talk about the cnn poll. mitt romney, ron paul together at the top, but what grabbed people as attention was the surge by rick santorum and the drop by newt gingrich. what's going on? >> i know you meant "time"/cnn poll, first of all.
>> excuse me, "time," yes. >> yeah, santorum has been working really hard on the ground, along with michele bachmann. the only one who's really put in the kind of time you normally see in iowa. and he's bearing the fruits of the fact that there's still a lot of indecision amongst the evangelical community. religious conservatives have not settled on a single candidate like mike huckabee four years ago. so it's not surprising to see rick santorum move up. the question is can he consolidate it and can he actually turn people out? he had something of an organization, but it's still, again, by historical standards, pretty small. >> on the other side of it, newt gingrich in free fall, as you look at the "time"/cnn poll here. down 19 points over just the last three weeks. how does he stop the bleeding? >> he's got to do something big. there's obviously no tailor-made, set big events. there's no more debates. he doesn't have enough money to do major television advertising. i think he's going to have to find something, either like
hillary clinton four years ago where she teared up and changed the dynamic of the race, or perhaps get a speech, an endorsement, something that allows him to get back on message. he's been so obsessed with process and challenging romney to debate and complaining about negative ads. he's got to get back to, if he wants to move up, i think, to talking about policy and why he wants to be president, rather than all this process stuff. he's in free fall and he needs to turn it around and he's got, obviously, very little time left. >> i'm thinking as you described that scene, of newt gingrich trying to summon tears in an event. might be a tougher sell than it was for hillary clinton. >> maybe not that exactly, but something like that. >> i know. i know, something like that. >> and i know you know. >> it tl was a bit of an iowa caucus coup when the co-chair for the bachmann campaign defected to ron paul's iowa team. sorensen made the announcement at a rally for the congressman hours after attending an event for michele bachmann.
listen. >> tonight's been tough for me. i've been serving as michele bachmann's state chair over the last year. and while michelle's fighting tremendously for my conservative values, i believe we're in a turning point in this campaign. i believe we have an opportunity to elect a conservative, somebody that holds our values dear. and when the republican establishment is going to be coming against him over the next few days, i thought it was my duty to come to his aid. i just want to tell you guys that i'm going to do everything i can the next few days to help in iowa and beyond. and we're going to take ron paul all the way to the white house. >> sorenson credits his switch to ron paul's past support for him during a state senate race last year. but theç bachmann campaign pois to another reason. in an official statement, bachmann wrote, "kent sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the paul campaign. kent said to me yesterday that
"everyone sells out in iowa, why shouldn't i? then he told me he would stay with our campaign. the ron paul campaign has to answer for its actions." that's a statement from michele bachmann. sorenson denies he was lured away by cash. mark, is this significant to the race? >> well, it's significant in the sense that it's blotting out any other news. i was at the event last night where sorenson did that. pretty dramatic. he's obviously not a national figure. he's not even particularly well known broadly in iowa, but it does show that there are these efforts going on, lots of rumors and accusations, efforts going on to try to settle on a candidate to stop mitt romney. sorenson was very outspoken afterwards in his criticism of romney. people who want romney -- don't want romney to be the nominee are looking for a candidate who can beat him in iowa, and right now, you have to say paul's the best bet to do that. the crazy thing about it is, if you want to stop mitt romney long term, ron paul winning the iowa caucuses is the worst possible outcome, because the romney campaign would be fine with that.
romney would be able to go on from here knowing that, in his view, he can't lose to paul, and no one else would come out of iowa with a head of steam who might be a bigger threat to him down the road. >> five days from now, they will q%9 iowa. i know caucuses are almost impossible to handicap, but sitting here five days out, mitt romney, ron paul clumped together at the top, santorum coming up, how does it look to you? >> look, i think romney right now is in the captain's seat. he has the establishment support locked up. people focused on the tea party andç evangelical vote. those are important, but the establishment vote in the iowa caucuses is a big part of the vote. romney showed yesterday in eastern iowa, where he had overflow crowds, a lot of enthusiasm, that he's got the establishment pretty revved up for him. he's ending this with some momentum, pretty good stage craft on the bus tour. unless some candidate, ron paul or someone else, really develops some momentum in the last few days, i think this is mitt romney's to lose, and that would have huge implications for the fight over the nomination. >> and then on to new hampshire, where he's expected to win big
as well. mark halperin, it's 4:39 in the morning. you're a great man, a good america. thanks for doing it. >> willie geist, two words -- bring bagels. >> we'll be there shortly with relief. mark, thanks. just a note, "way too early" will be live from java joe's in des moines, iowa, beginning on monday. that begins our complete coverage of the iowa caucus. of course, "way too early" and "morning joe" will be there monday through wednesday. on to some other news. an arab league delegation expected to visit three more cities in syria today, although activists say the observers' presence in the country has not stopped the violent crackdown by government forces there. opposition leaders criticizing the arab league mission after its leader, a former sudanese intelligence officer, said he witnessed "nothing frightening on the ground." the united nations says 5,000 people have been killed in syria since march. the united states navy is pushing back against threats made by iran to close a critical waterway in the persian gulf that carries 15 million barrels
of oil every day. iranian officials are furious over a planned oil embargo by the west. in retaliation, they say they will cut off access to the strait of hormuz, where one-third of the world's energy supply isç transported. the state department is downplaying the rhetoric with some analysts suggesting iran would just be crippling its own economy with that move. still, the pentagon not taking the threat lightly. the spokesman there said any interference with the shipping lanes will "not be tolerated." the u.s. navy command in the region put out a sharply worded statement, reading in part, "anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations. the united states navy is always ready to counter ma lev lent actions to ensure freedom of navigation." still ahead, the nba is back, in case you haven't noticed, and the miami heat looking as villainous as ever. highlights of a buzzer-beater, ahead in sports.
plus, a day after mitt romney said newt gingrich's disorganized campaign reminded him of lucile in the chocolate factory, gingrich does an event, you guessed it, inside an iowa chocolate factory. that story and a check on weather when "way too early" comes right back. we do not seek to deny that london has suffered. the crack of gunfire, the draw of high explosives. we know them all and we hate them. but if the high command is counting on fear to win the war for germany, so much the better, because neither fear nor anything else can now conquer britain.
year's eve. we'll be packed with people that don't include me. let's get a check on weather from nbc meteorologist bill karins. hey, bill. >> a little upset this morning. >> what's up? >> actually had to wear a hat and gloves. >> it was cold. >> i know! >> i was unprepared. i'm still wearing my fall vest. >> yeah, time to break out the winter gear. >> it's winter. >> finally here, especially in northern new england. good morning, everyone. windchills areç in the negativ numbers. upstate new york, vermont, new hampshire and maine, at single digits through many areas of central new england. the big cities are even down there around 12 in boston, 10 in hartford. so, the windchill will get your attention this morning in new england. thankfully, a lot of kids don't ve to wait at the bus stop this morning with school out. 21 in philadelphia, so it's chilly in many areas. this afternoon, cold air is in place, but it won't be as windy, so it won't feel quite as bad as this morning. temperatures getting up into the 30s in new england, we'll call it 40s from d.c. to pittsburgh. there's a little light snow this morning across wisconsin. you'll probably get a little coating there in green bay. milwaukee may see some flakes this morning, but chicago, i think it's too warm. i don't think we'll get any
accumulations there. this afternoon in chicago going up to 46. and look at how warm it is still. kansas city, st. louis, denver, all in the 50s. we're in the 60s from dallas through much of florida. things are going to change, though, not so much as we go through new year's eve and new year's day, but once we get to next week, that's when we see a lot of the cold air heading our way. so, enjoy this while it lasts. willie, looks like even in areas like new york city and boston, we may even break freezing for a high come tuesday, wednesday next weir. >> wow. >> so that's going to be the big wake-up call. >> last few days and it's into winter. sports now. the most despised team in the nba last season, the miami heat, off to a strong start in the shortened season. taking on the bobcats last night in charlotte. good game. fourth quarter, tied at 84, chris bosh fakes the shot, goes in for the monster throwdown and the foul, giving the heat a late lead, but charlotte comes back. 15 seconds left, gerald henderson hits the three. charlotte has a one-point lead, 95-94. so, miami has a final shot with 6 seconds on the clock.
they go to d. wade, the pump fake, throws it up off the glass. it goes ç"own, puts them up do. wade mimics cam newton's signature superman. he was sitting courtside with bob jordan. heat win 96-95. dwyane wade the hero. miami heat 3-0 to start the season. college hoops. a battle for the big east. louisville faced georgetown last night in the cardinals' first game since coach rick pitino announced he will step down after his contract expires in 2017. down 11, smith up for three from the corner tied the game, but the hoyas did not back down. auou otto porter puts up the tip and georgetown wins 71-68. they are 11-1. that's louisville's first loss of the season. the cardinals are 12-1. college football. the military bowl featured air force against the university of toledo. second quarter, air force down
seven. gutsy call fourth and three. tim jefferson, jonathan warzeka for 37 yards. game tied at 28. in the fourth, another risky play, air force going for it on fourth and two. jefferson to a wide-open zach couth. all they want to do is kick the extra point to send it to overtime. i love the call. they go for the fake to go for two. that would win the game. the ball, though, is punched out as the holder tried to get around the end. fumbled into the end zone. toledo hangs on to beat the air force academy 42-41. one last item of sport overseas we can only hope makes it to the shores of this country. the british car-jumping championship. hundreds on hand to watch cars try and often fail to getç the jalopies over a row of smashed vehicles. just short again on that one. judged on elevation, distance, and most importantly, applause from the crowd. no one ended up clearing the entire row of cars.
no one cleared the cars. the event's been going strong for seven years, and i think the point is that they don't clear the cars. coming on "morning "joe," a new poll shows santorum's investment in iowa is paying off at the right time. what role will he play in determining the republican nominee and what is happening to newt gingrich? we'll have the latest from the hawkeye state with our "morning joe" crew. and when we come back here, we'll huddle around the water cooler to watch a throwdown in the holy land. a holiday broom fight in bethlehem when "way too early" comes right back. wow. [ male announcer ] new vis nature fusion cold & flu syrup. flavored with real honey. powerful cold medicine that leaves out artificial flavors and dyes and instead uses something more natural, honey. new vicks nature fusion cold & flu. ♪
♪ you heard an earlier sound bite we played newt gingrich saying on wednesday, conceivably, he could finish in the top four in the iowa caucuses and still win the republican nomination. if you want to sound smart today, tell your friends, since 1976, senator john mccain is the only republican to finish outside of the top three and go on to win the party's nomination. mccain finished fourth in 2008 behind mike huckabee, mitt romney, and just a hair behind the aforementioned fred thompson. enough of the real news. let's huddle up around the water cooler to watch day two -- there was a day two, believe it or not -- of the newt versus mitt lucile in the chocolate factory
feud. it kicked off when romney took a jab at gingrich's failure to get on the virginia ballot. >> what do you think of speaker gingrich not getting enough people on the ballot? >> you know, i think you can compare that to, what is it, pearl harbor? i think it's more like lucile ball at the chocolate factory. so i mean, you know, you've got to get it organized. >> i think we're fighting a losing game! [ laughter ] >> when i see mistakes, i try to find a little humor in them. in this case, lucile ball at the chocolate factory. i hope the speaker understands that was humor, and i'm happy to tell my humorous anecdote to him face to face and i'm anxious to see him. >> and that brings usç to
yesterday. i can't make these things up. newt gingrich appeared in iowa in a chocolate factory. this was a long-ago scheduled appearance by gingrich. this had been on the schedule before mitt romney made his chocolate factory quip, but there he was. >> i just want to say here i am in the chocolate factory. [ applause ] and now that i have the courage to come to the chocolate factory, i hope governor romney will have the courage to debate me one on one and defend his negative ads. i don't expect him to do it, but i hope if he comes buy, he'll at least buy some chocolates. >> he really wants that debate, doesn't he? it's that time of year again. we seem to show you every year, in bethlehem, a broom fight. the church of the nativity. about 100 greeks and monks from the greek orthodox and apostolic churches beat each other with
brooms during the cleaning of the church of the nativity in bethlehem yesterday. police armed with batons and shields were called in. they had to storm the church to restore order. now, this is no way for a bunch of priests and monks to act, is it? look, the cops have to come in with the batons? unbelievable. that happened last year, too. amazing. we've been taking you this week through oyer favorite clips of the year. this happened last month. remember this? we call it the old guy fight. happened during a reunion for the canadian football league. 73-year-old joe kapp, 74-year-old angelo mosca going at it. it was like a 40-year-old disagreement they had, brought up again at this reunion at a luncheon in vancouver. two rivals erupted into some cane swinging. somebody tried to endç the tru. the guy with the cane wanted none of it. one of our "clips of the year." still ahead on "way too early," why are you awake? your corn-fed tweets, texts and e-mails next. "morning joe" is moments away. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition?